Bisbee 1000
S'all Downhill from Here

January 16, 2016

Crossing into Mexico from Douglas, Arizona and then heading south on Sonora Hwy#17 towards Esqueda.

What happened…

Amanda writes: When Andrew woke up he declared that we wouldn’t be taking the Naco crossing into Mexico as we had originally planned. He was basing this on intuition and I didn’t question it. We had tossed around the idea of the Naco crossing or the Douglas crossing. The only people we know who have been across the border in Naco didn’t like the vibe, and with Andrew feeling like it wasn’t a good idea; we set out East instead of South. The change in route would only add on about 50 km but I was up for the challenge.

We departed with the notion of going back to our regular style of riding where we didn’t necessarily have a particular destination as it relates to a hotel or city, but moreso just that we needed to accomplish a certain number of kilometres. The day started really well with our host David escorting us out of town with a few more historical markers. David was such a treat as a host and I’m really glad to have met him. It was totally downhill out of Bisbee for the first two hours and that was awesome. After the downhill and crossing the border we seemed to make pretty good time without headwind. While we exceeded our comfortable 6 hour maximum of cycling in a day, I really enjoyed the high average speed. It’s after days like these that I really wish I could pedal faster on a regular basis. In any event it was a great ride and I was so glad to be back on the bike.

Andrew writes: I’m not sure what is was that prompted me to change our route at the last minute, by taking the longer route to cross at Douglas instead of Naco, but I’m glad that I did. It was a great downhill ride with David and Amanda, as the sun poked it’s head out from behind the mountains and warmed up the tarmac. Then David said his goodbyes, and we rolled in to Douglas. Douglas is a typical border town with a giant commercial complex (Walmart etc.). For some reason, the signs for the border crossing route you towards, then around this mall, as though you’re expected to stock up before you head into Mexico. Weird.

I really enjoyed the Mexican immigration officer who seemed really interested about our trip, and I found myself easily able to converse with him in Spanish. This is despite having spent the last month in San Carlos, where English is the majority language. So all of a sudden we’re in Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico. There was some truck traffic that we had to deal with until we turned south on Hwy#17 with Esqueda set in our sights.

Unlike our previous Mexican cycling experience, in Baja and San Carlos, the scenery in this part of Sonora is all farmland, with mountains on the horizon in either direction. Of course, we’re heading directly towards a set of those mountains, the Sierras. It was mostly flat, or downhill for much of the ride, and so quite easy. When we reached the town of Esqueda, we stopped in to pick up some food for dinner and a police truck showed up. I’m not entirely clear on what was communicated, but the officers beckoned us to follow them and so we rode through this medium sized town with the local police force announcing our arrival, flashing lights and all. When we reached the far end of town, conveniently near a hotel, the officers waved and left.

The hotel was going to cost $350 pesos, or about $30CDN, so we decided to find a place to wild camp instead. Mexico is horrible for fences, in that every square meter of roadside is fenced. This is probably to keep squatters from claiming the right to live on the land, but still it’s hard to find a place to pitch a tent that is’t behind a fence! And then, just before the sun set, we found an open driveway that led to a secluded campsite near the train tracks. We could hear cows and dogs from across the tracks, but we were pretty sure that no one could see us. And so, just like that, it was back to our usual campsite pattern of setting up the tent, and cooking dinner, and heading to bed at 1900hrs. After such a long day in the saddle, we were both exhausted, but in absolute bliss!

Today’s Photographs

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Bisbee 1000
S'all Downhill from Here